It would appear I’m becoming a slacker again, especially on weekends. This time I have an excuse though: I got stung by a bee and swelled. No really. Actually it was a wasp, and it wasn’t so much the swelling as the ensuing sensation that my gut was being stomped upon by angry transvestites in stilettos (stilettos with real-size women in them would be far too small and dainty).
Although I do like the excuse that I’m actually only 120 pounds, I just got stung by a bee. (Or perhaps several – mostly in the muffin-top and thigh area.)
I was so honoured to emcee the first annual Sugar Bowl last night. Immediately upon walking in the door of the lawn bowling club I was chatting at the registration desk, not hassling any wasps at all, and one flew up my capris and stung me above the knee (as one might do if one was trapped in my pants). Ironically, I’ve been killing wasps all over our house and yard for days without being stung – in fact I assassinated 4 in the bathroom immediately before leaving for the event. (Clearly this is payback – either the offending wasp followed me there, or got texted by his second cousin over in Ramsay that half his family was just obliterated and flushed down the toilet.)
So it hurt, yes, and swelled into a second knee. But as I was dabbing some ointment on it my stomach must have got wind of what happened, cramped up and remained that way for the entire evening, so much so that it was hard to stand up straight. I’m sure some attendees wondered about the pained expression on my face; surely I couldn’t be that passionate about lawn bowling?
It was a really really fantastic, fun event, and I’m already looking forward to next year. But when it was over I got myself home, into my PJs and the fetal position and stayed that way until this morning. Stupid wasp.
So last night: no dinner. I have no idea what M fed W, but this morning the latter fessed up to eating a bag of whole wheat hot dog buns, and I estimated there were at least 6 in there when I left (I took note for a fall-back dinner: a whole wheat hot dog bun spread with peanut butter and stuffed with a banana. Guess he didn’t make it that far.)
Tonight we ate grilled Spolumbo’s sausages and leftover ratatouille, but I do have to tell you about those kale chips. Turns out fresh kale, when oiled, salted and roasted, turns into crispy, salty kale, and although it is completely delicious, and finally helped me to understand why people go around eating sheets of nori, I think calling them chips are a bit of a stretch. I will totally make this again, though – my sister and I polished off a bowl of crispy, ruffly “chips” in under 10 minutes. The kids unfortunately didn’t fall for the ruse.
Thanks, you guys, for all the recipe links! It was interesting to compare; oven temperatures ranged from 250°F to 400°F (I did a middle-of-the-road 350°F) and while all were tossed in oil, a couple also had lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, which I opted against. (In order to get veggies nice and crispy you want to avoid any moisture, and I really wanted them crispy.) Wash your kale, dry it in a salad spinner or between tea towels, pull out the tough stems, tear it into chunks (if you like – some recipes roasted whole leaves) and toss with a drizzle of canola or olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Make sure the leaves are spread out in a single layer on your baking sheet; when they get bunched up they tend to not crisp up. The higher temp recipes took only 5 minutes; the low took half an hour; mine took about 15 minutes. You just want them crisp, but not burned. It’s pretty simple, really.
And I thought it was about time I mentioned the ratatouille; I’ve gone through a couple batches in the past weeks, keeping it in the fridge to dip into for pizza, sandwiches, lasagna, or to balance a grilled sausage. It seems more like an end-of-summer dish, but the markets are loaded with tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplant right now. I love this recipe because you can start with the onion and then just chop and add veggies to the pan as you go, and measurements are approximate – feel free to add more of this or that, and sometimes I add a big spoonful of tomato paste to enrich it a little.
Like chili and soup, ratatouille is even better the next day, and the next. And once you have a stash of it, you can toss it with hot pasta (and crumbled feta or goat cheese), layer it between lasagna noodles, spread some into a panini or grilled cheese, or gob onto a pizza crust or pita and top with cheese.
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1 large onion, halved and sliced
4-5 big garlic cloves, crushed
1 small eggplant, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
a couple tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
1 tsp. oregano or dried Italian seasoning
a handful of fresh spinach or basil, chopped (optional)
In a large skillet, heat a generous glug of oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes, adding more oil if needed, until the eggplant is soft. Add the pepper and zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until everything is nice and soft and you’re starting to get some golden edges. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano and cook for 5 more minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to; if you’re adding fresh spinach or basil, stir it in and let it wilt. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight and reheat as you need it. Serves 8 (or so).
One Year Ago: Seafood Chowder